Spooky Kids' Books for Halloween and Beyond

Halloween reads can range from sweet and silly to totally spooky.Halloween reads can range from sweet and silly to totally spooky.By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media book editor

Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.

Every month Common Sense Media highlights a few books for different ages -- some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to pique your kid's interest, get your reader hooked on a new author, or rediscover an old favorite.

Here are our picks for October:

  • For kids 3 to 7, there's Click, Clack, Boo! by the award-wining team of author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin. If you loved their Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo, you'll be happy to see the barnyard crew -- cows, sheep, chickens, cats, pigs, and ducks -- once again vexing Farmer Brown. He hates Halloween and its spooky sounds, and he hides under the covers, away from trick-or-treaters and spooky sounds, while the animals host a festive costume party in the barn. The two converge to humorous effect. A good, non-scary seasonal option for little ones.
  • For readers 11 to 14, check out The Screaming Staircase: Lockwood and Co., Book 1 by Jonathan Stroud. This truly scary story of young teen ghost hunters will have even grown-ups considering sleeping with the light on. It's got skeletal remains, rooms dripping blood, descriptions of how the ghosts died violently, and, yes, that screaming staircase to give you some major creeps. But it's a really well-done and exciting page-turner. If you can take scary stuff, you'll be very satisfied.
  • For teens 15 to 17, there's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, author of Doll Bones and co-author of The Spiderwick Chronicles. Much darker than her middle-grade fiction, it's set in a violent, bloody, post-vampire-apocalypse world, where vampire gore and lore have permeated pop culture and social media. For example, vampire hunters are on reality TV shows; popular blogs show video feeds of nonstop, rave-style vampire balls in the quarantine area known as Coldtown; and gift-shop baby tees say things like Corpsebait. Here, teens want to be vampires. It's creepy, gory, and intense, but the writing is a cut above most vampire fare. It's not for the faint of heart and best for mature teens.

For more spooky suggestions, check out our "top picks" lists, including Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, Ghost Stories, and Halloween Stories.

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.